Business / Industries

Hainan Airlines to start Prague flights

By Wang Wen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-11 10:05

Hainan Airlines Co Ltd plans to launch the first direct flights between China and the Czech Republic in September as part of the effort to implement the Belt and Road Initiative.

The route from Beijing to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, will begin on Sept 23, with the Chinese carrier running three flights a week.

"This will be Hainan Airlines' seventh route to Europe, which would complete the carrier's global network," said Chen Ming, vice-president of HNA Group, parent company of the airline.

"Chinese carriers are also building up air bridges as part of the government's Belt and Road Initiative," Chen said. The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013

It aims to revive ancient trade routes between Asia and Europe. The network passes through more than 60 countries and regions, with a total population of 4.4 billion.

"The Czech Republic is an important stop along the Silk Road Economic Belt to the West," Chen said. As the fourth-largest carrier in China, Hainan Airlines is confident the Belt and Road strategy will boost international business travel to and from China as trade grows. The airlines has now opened up 15 routes along the Silk Road.

The Czech government expects the new flights will bring in more tourists and business people into the country. "About 210,000 Chinese nationals visited the Czech Republic last year," said Noemi Benesova, chief representative of the Czech Tourism Authority's Beijing branch.

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